Meandering Thoughts About Marginalization, Money, Visas, Ladyboys
The submissions have been slow so I figured I’d throw something together. Just some meandering thoughts about Thailand but also life here stateside. I won’t obsess over editing and this may not read entirely coherent. Just a stream of consciousness.
Stick has printed numerous submissions of mine before, but this one will have a different author name and email address attached. Because a gal I date read last year about one of my liaisons somehow by searching web history on my laptop, or Googling the email address, or how else I have no idea as she has not divulged her spy techniques. Those readers who can put two and two together might recognize my tone and content.
I remain weighed down by this feeling of marginalization, that I just can’t fit in to the Western first world middle class. I roam the streets here and feel more at home among the miscreants, addicts, pushers, pimps and prostitutes than in a group of average Americans. Sober however, I also have trouble with my old crowd, my old friends who smoke and drink and grow dope (now legal in many states). I just don’t fit in with poor white trash anymore either.
I feel almost as if I am akin to a ‘half breed’ archetype from the wild Western frontier. Shunned by both whites and natives alike. But my principles align me with my family, those I struggle often to leave behind. Those without big houses, lots of cars, credit cards, professional degrees, etc. Rather those with debt, on welfare, unwilling or able to jump through the social hoops to ‘go legit’ and by the books. Because I aspire to a sort of asceticism, I have renounced the American dream of material wealth and consumption in favor of a simple life with few belongings… to a lifestyle much like the average Thai.
Dating a woman who has never struggled with poverty just doesn’t work for me long term. Dating one from the streets doesn’t much either because substance abuse bothers me, and we now have an entire generation of ‘stoners’ here (not to mention heavier drugs which among my circle are common). Marijuana changes people, and only those who do not smoke can see the damage it causes a daily, heavy user. Back in the 60’s the grass had much more subtle effects (not that I was there at the time). Nowadays, the selective breeding of botanically minded cultivators produce a much more potent, hallucinatory substance that I have personally witnessed ruin lives (in a subtle, creeping way, not like crack cocaine or even alcohol).
But back to dating, as I reminisce I realize the majority of my girlfriends come from families of means much beyond my own. And I just never quite fit in. The things I have witnessed and experienced, such as squatting, homelessness and heavy drug use set me apart. I have trouble participating in typical bourgeoisie affairs such as recreational consumption and entertainment when I can’t shake the memories of a world with an edge. A world where no matter how hard some may try to improve their stead, they will slip through the cracks, all because they didn’t pick the right parents or economic class to get born into.
And well I realize I could never be acclimatized to domestication, I’m more of a butterfly. Or rather I prefer the up front, logical and arranged model of relating to the fairer sex, with a spoken and agreed upon exchange. I read wistful of the ‘Heterai’ of ancient Greece, educated working women who had skills in music, philosophical conversation and of course bed manner. Or Japanese courtesans, who unencumbered by the demands of household upkeep and family obligations developed themselves to engage a man and keep him interested. Such examples I favor in theory over the long slog and drudgery of co dependent monogamy. I witness my friends in marriages and from my single guy perspective it looks almost like slavery, with the wife higher up the pecking order.
Relationships never seem to grow over time, to build. They all seem jumped into because of a social ideal, and because individuals for the most part hate to face their existential demons in solitude. Codependency remains the norm, coddled, safe, and dare I say infantile like a spouse acting as a parent. And indeed as we age the benefits of matrimony show themselves more. My aunt told me once, as she doted over my sick uncle, that ‘here’s where marriage comes in handy’. And there she had it. Not for the passion, not for the sex, not even for conversation. For the security.
So I figure in some ways I fit in better in the third world (though Thailand seems on the ‘up and up’ compared to ‘more’ third world places like Cambodia and Burma, but about par with Vietnam and Malaysia). Because I am more in my element among the marginalized fringes of global society than among the more well to do. More comfortable among people that don’t own cars but take mass transit, among a population that consumes less resources relative to the affluent West. Not that I harbor unchecked animosity for wealth and the middle class. I understand that everything has benefits and drawbacks, and different groups from different socioeconomic backgrounds suffer in different ways. Everyone suffers, as any Buddhist will tell you. Physically, mentally, spiritually.
But back to dating (again because what topic could ever prove as fascinating and mystifying as females?) I reckon my preference for working girls over non also manifests in a preference for certain physical features. Girls with a bit of a butch edge, punk styles, maybe a (well done) tattoo, short hair perhaps spiked, etc. Butch but not TOO butch, and certainly born with ovaries.
This look drives me wild. And even today I had a surreal experience. I rode one bus to downtown and on it I kept thinking about my attraction to women with short hair. So I promised myself that I would speak to the next one I saw, I vowed to say something, anything even so simple as ‘I like your haircut’ should I pass her on the street.
Well, I failed. On a second bus, an Asian and perhaps even Thai looking lass with short hair boarded and sat five seats down. Then she looked around, at the other available seats and perhaps at me (she wore sun glasses), then stood and moved to the seat directly in front of me. I figured she wanted a better view of the surroundings that passed by because I saw on her phone that she had a GPS map on the screen and followed along as the bus drove. Clearly she did not know the city and wanted to get her bearings.
The view of her neck from what few feet I sat behind her…yes indeed something about short hair on a pretty woman lights a fire within my core. But coward that I am I did not say anything, even though she very well may have seen me watch her board and sat near me in part to open a door to conversation.
Doubts crept in. I’m so poor and need to save what I make, so I can not enjoy typical activities like decent dining and movies right now. She seemed reasonably well to do. She had a phone much nicer than mine, nice clothes. The memories of a recent failed relationship with a financially secure girlfriend loomed fresh in my mind. However now, in hindsight, all poor excuses for cowardice. Would it have really hurt to say something, anything? I kick myself now.
A short haircut says much about a woman. It indicates bravery, for one, because the vast majority of women keep their hair long. It indicates a practical outlook on life, for one undeniable benefit of short hair is that it demands less maintenance. It indicates confidence and I may project a bit when I add intelligence to that list of traits. The punk aesthetic, born on the streets of London, perhaps brought the look more mainstream in the 80’s and made it more acceptable for the average woman to keep trim. Older women tend more to favor shorter hair, but when I see a younger woman with a buzz, a side shave, a Mohawk, or just a few inches faded down the sides, it piques my imagination.
That which is rare and scarce holds higher value, simple economics of supply and demand. Short hair women are rare. Like precious gems to my eyes. Next one, I tell myself, I swear I will speak to the next one I see…
On to other topics, namely the new visa run rules. I wonder if perhaps submissions have slowed in part due to this? Big news eh? Certainly puts a damper on my plans to spend the fall and winter in LOS. Now I might have to get a student visa, which means more money, something I am short of obviously. To offset the expenditure on Thai classes for the visa, I could stay at my 3 USD per night guest house most of the time, then get a nicer hotel room once a week for a break (and to have a lady over), or go to an island for a week every month to get away from the at times oppressive bustle of Bangkok and ‘end of the world’ sadness said guest houses tend to evoke.
But Thailand no longer seems like the promised land it once did. A place where everyone was welcome to stay as long as they liked, a place full of diverse digital nomads, vagrants, outcasts from their home cultures, people on the fringes like I mentioned earlier.
Lots of ladyboy submissions lately and while I find them fascinating and read much of Stick’s writings about his conversations with them, the thought of finding something extra down there revolts me, even though, yes, I do like my gals edgy, butch, bisexual, short haired, and not entirely feminine in a weak, fair sense. But I don’t react like some other writers. The ladyboy submissions fascinate me. Like I said, the marginalized in society I feel an affinity to. I have a borderline voyeuristic fascination with life in general. No homophobic complaints here but I would say if the majority of submissions came from ladyboy lovers I would not spend any time on this site.